As you approach the porch of The Reata, you have to look down at the pavement or you'll miss the metal "R" pressed into the cement. Or maybe it's inlaid rope, because that's what reata means in Spanish. Anyway, I love a little surprise that could have gone unnoticed.
A Cozy House
Of course the name Reata refers to the famous ranch in the iconic movie, "Giant". The famous saga was filmed in the 1950's in nearby Marfa. This sweet, converted adobe house may not be as grand as the big mansion in the movie, but I love the cozy porch and the chimney popping out of the metal roof and the rope hanging from the "R" above the door. Even the colors look old and ranch-y to me.
It was light when I stopped to make reservations. (Which is a good idea at this popular place) Through the window I could see a mural on the building next door. Clever! Even though I'm not clever enough to capture the image with my camera, I love the idea of giving diners a pretend landscape instead of a wall. I asked the hostess about it and she said the artist, Stylle Read created many of colorful murals we had already noticed in Alpine.
I also asked about the big beast above the fireplace. She laughed about what a problem he caused when they painted the wall recently. He was so skillfully attached to the wall, they couldn't remove him.
It was just getting dark when we arrived early for our reservations. That gave us a chance to have a drink at the bar at the back of the house. I actually thought the tree was fake since the bark was so odd looking, but the bartender assured me it was real. The big windows gave the small room an open feeling. In fact we seemed to be looking out the window, across the fields towards a big mansion...
I took this photo earlier of the patio to show another mural by Read. In this one we get to see James Dean slumping on his horse a bit and the mansion off down the road. It was cool that evening, but I think they often have live music out on the patio.
Our cozy table was one of about 4 in the back room. We actually ended up talking with a couple behind us,(enjoying their 55th wedding anniversary) along with their daughter and son-in-law. Chatting with fellow diners in tiny rooms can be uncomfortable at times, but we actually had a nice visit. We did not however, chat with the man who ate by himself and told the server he didn't need a drink, before pulling out his own flask. I don't think he was the usual Reata diner.
The best part of our evening was the food! Maybe it was the fact we were starved after missing lunch. But I would have devoured this food even if I'd been full. In fact I was full about half way through my meal, but I couldn't stop taking bites. My fried poblano chile rellenos, stuffed with corn and peppers...were decadent! The corn chowder served on the side was refreshing and the drizzle of creamy sauce was plain delicious. I couldn't stop on the biscuits either! I'm not sure what was in the buttery spread, but I was in heaven since I try not to eat much bread!
Citrus Crusted Chicken
So when I thought I could eat no more, I switched plates with Don and found a whole new appetite. His green beans were fresh and healthy, but his rich chicken with mango chutney was almost dessert! When Ryan, our young server of 3 days (wearing the absolute coolest uniform of black and white western shirt) asked if we wanted to try bread pudding tamales, I almost gagged. I really was that full. But now that I'm writing on an empty stomach I'm furious with myself!
Why didn't I try the dessert tamales? Next time!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.